Real estate sales in Aspen have been “decidedly slower” in 2018 than last year, while Snowmass Village activity continues to receive a boost from the vertical construction in Base Village.
That’s according to the deep dive provided by Andrew Ernemann, broker associate for Aspen Sotheby’s International, in his recently released biannual Market Report. The report continued to show some cautionary flags that were seen during the first quarter, which indicates about a 30 percent drop in Aspen sales volume at the year’s midpoint, though there is some balance by increased Snowmass activity.
In a follow up interview, Ernemann, a past president of the Aspen Board of Realtors, suggested the sales slowdown could also be tied to the Lake Christine Fire that started July 3 from tracer bullets at the Basalt gun range and has burned 12,588 acres. Allison Marcus and Richard Miller of El Jebel face three charges of fourth-degree arson and one count of setting on fire woods. Both are felonies.
“Many people are pointing to the timing and prolonged impact in so many ways of the Basalt fire as really slowing down real estate in Aspen and Snowmass this summer,” Ernemann said.
To date in 2018, prices for single family homes and condos are tracking flat in both Aspen and Snowmass, though there are small neighborhood fluctuations, according to the report.
In Aspen, the average sales price of a single family home is currently $7.34 million. The average sales to list price is 92 percent. Fifteen single-family homes have sold this year compared to 93 in all of 2017.
The average sales price of an Aspen condominium in 2018 is $3.55 million, with a 95 percent average sales to list price. This year there have been 36 sales compared to 163 for all of last year.
In Snowmass Village, the average single family home sales price is $2.73 million with a 91 percent average sales to list price. Fourteen have sold this year compared to 41 homes last year.
Non-ski accessible condominiums have an average sales price of $777,550, with Base Village condos selling this year at an average of $332,500 and ski-accessible condos, except for Base Village, at $667,728. Base Village sales have also seen the highest growth, 20 so far this year compared to 12 in 2017. Additional new residential real estate will come on line this winter in the Limelight hotel and the adjacent Lumin luxury condo building.
“For sure Snowmass Village has finally broken out of the shadows of Aspen real estate market this year and seems to be doing well,” Ernemann said.
In his report, he advised that a longer term view of the market is required to get an accurate picture, rather than over just a quarter or two, while at the same time allowing that, “This year has been slower with regard to the number of sales than last year in Aspen and many people have taken note.
“If one takes a step back and looks at a slightly longer time frame, it’s easy to see that two years ago the market was tracking slower than it had the year prior,” Ernemann said.
What is different this year is the listing inventory is rising in Aspen for the first time in years.
A repeat, or not?
In Aug. 2016, six months of slower-than-expected sales followed 2015’s $2-billion-plus year for real estate sales in the upper valley. By the end of 2016, the market picked up and continued a solid march into 2017.
“The same thing could be happening now, we are already seeing an uptick in negotiations and contracts the past week or so,” Ernemann said.
To date in 2018, sales dollar volume has declined year about 20 percent in Aspen and about 5 percent in Snowmass Village, he said.
There were 91 sales of properties $5 million or more in 2017 in the upper valley. Year-to-date in 2018, there have been 24 sales.
Snowmass Village real estate continues to have a different trajectory than Aspen, as interest in older homes and condominiums has picked up. Currently in Snowmass there are 64 available listings of single-family homes. Six are under contract, according to Ernemann.
“It seems to take forever in Snowmass Village to climb out of the last recession, higher-end neighborhoods like The Pines and Two Creeks have left many sellers hanging out to dry for five-plus years while they try to find the ‘right buyer,’” Ernemann wrote.
“Finally, after several false starts, the Base Village project is back on track with solid ownership and an impressive amount of construction activity taking place,” he noted. “The psychological impact of new vertical construction and investment dollars injected on and off the mountain in Snowmass Village has percolated throughout the local real estate market.”